For a few weeks now a dessert degustation hype has been the new next thing towards sweet tooth fans and I believe there’s a social media hype going on around Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and so on.
After years managing pastry and baking operations at Bather’s Pavilion and featured in Lux Bite dessert night 2012, just recently Sydney Shangri-la Hotel has welcomed a very talented award-winning passionate pastry chef Anna Polyviou, as their new executive pastry chef.
She and her intriguing team have established their very first dessert degustation promotion in June in Shangri-La’s pastry kitchen lab. It takes place every Wednesday, but unfortunately last night was the final session. (Seats limited to 20 people per session, $105 per person).
Only 80 lucky people experienced this exclusive event and I was truly thrilled to be one of them. *Insert happy dance*
Fingers crossed that Anna plans to create a few more of these scrumdiddilyumpshus events. I’d describe this degustation overall to be sugar orgasm on every plate!
Thank You Bonnie for organising this awesome dessert degustation!
We know degustation can be a tad traditional at times. Unlike a “usual” degustation, Anna took her inspirations to a whole new level, introducing a casual and relaxed atmosphere, where 20 of us watched our desserts being hand crafted and decorated in front of us by Anna and her hard working team .
Seeing the drama , chaos and entertainment in the kitchen, I seriously thought there would be a few hiccups or two, seeing as I was watching my dessert being prepared right before my eyes. I didn’t need to worry as the entire evening went smoothly without a fuss .
Due to traffic and weather I happened to arrive half an hour earlier than the scheduled event. I sat on the large comfy, cozy sofas of the lounge amongst the other fortunate guests when the extremely friendly and professional Shangri-La team , mostly Kevin greeted me with a shiny champagne glass of NV Chandon.
Glass of NV Chandon
After a few sips, we were then escorted through the maze of the hotel to the spacious pastry kitchen, where Anna and her team warmly greeted us. Anna is fun and quite a down to earth character!
Managed to take a few photos of Anna’s Team preparing our coma inducing desserts!
We were greeted again by Anna and her team and explained to us what would we be expecting during the evening. In my opinion just before the degustation had begun my expectation was sky high. I expected a lot of chocolate throughout the evening and that’s usual. But I was utterly wrong! She had created a “tongue-smacking” experience I cannot imagine. It’s not just chocolate! We had a variety of seasonal fruits that made it far more interesting.
To kick start, was a mouth watering dessert called “Anna’s Liquid Mess“ – Vanilla bavarois crème shaped in a semi sphere with what Anna calls “holes and everybody loves it” covered in pink cocoa powder, beneath a crunchy base served with freshly cut strawberries, a dollop of strawberry sorbet , pop rocks, baby basil and meringue. An appealing tasty dish! The pop rock was a blast full of fuzziness’ in my mouth. Most likeable dessert of the night.
Anna’s Liquid Mess: Vanilla crème, strawberry, popping rocking
It was very eye catching to watch the chefs pour a jug of warm syrupy strawberry coulis on the dessert, instantly liquefying the white chocolate sphere and creating a complete appetizing dish.
Next dessert “Lemon Twist“, was a lemon soufflé drizzled with lemon curd sauce. It truly was a twist with a small test tube filled with lime sherbet for the sugar fever lovers and a spoon full of lemon . This was a “toe-curling” outcome with the acidic texture, crunchy but soft in the soufflé, eye popping with the additional lime fizzy test tube. It was heavenly tangy!
“Lemon Twist”: Lemon meringue, lemon curd, lemon fizz
In between our splendid desserts, “Re-freshen Apples” was the palate purifier infused with the element of apples. As a result it was pleasing to the palate as a cleanser.
Anna mentioned this dessert was inspired by her close friend John Ralley, a pastry chef at Wildfire.
Anna assembling “Re-freshen Apples”
The unique shaped glass contained with sweet and sour apples, green apple jelly, a taste of cinnamon crumbles, fennel sorbet and caramelised with white chocolate crème. To complete the dish one layer of crunchy almond tuile. Incredibly amazing! Looked like a garden-fresh dessert.
The following dessert, “Caramelize me Casey“, was an absolutely sinful dish and a personal experience for Anna, as she said she put it together for her partner, including all her beloved flavours and textures like candied popcorn, fresh banana puree, my favourite passionfruit sorbet and caramel ice cream. I was really fascinated with the chocolate sponge.
“Caramelize me”-Banana, caramel, passionfruit, popcorn
This dessert is fit for a king! With a mix of savoury, yet a honey-glazed taste of chocolate gateau. In my opinion a sensational rollicking dessert!
Our last dessert “Lick” a finger-licking parfait ice-cream yoghurt attached on a wooden popsicle stick topped with crunchy caramel with liquefied pearl mango jelly all around prepared by a friend of hers overseas, crunchy honeycomb, the bottom sprinkled with chocolate crumbles and garnished with baby herbs. A splendid way to bring the degustation to an end.
“Lick”: Yoghurt ice-cream, honeycomb, mango pearls and cacao
20 guests were attracted towards “Take me home” stand, where Oreo and Honeycomb prettified into appealing candied chocolate lollipops with a happy face, additionally modified the likable Snickers bars and Red Skin macarons.
“Take me home” stand
Anna’s Lolli Pop
Anna’s Snicker Bar
Anna’s Red Skin macarons
I was quite surprised I was the only one who brought an SLR, perhaps camera phones tend to be the new hip thing?
It was such an unforgettable memorable experience and opportunity to see Anna Polyviou and her team work their magic with sweets! On a side note, I made a few fanatical foodie friends. This degustation is a jaw dropping work of dessert art! Thank you Anna and her team for making a magical sugar high evening for us.
Had a lovely chat with the Amazing Anna !
You know… just me & Anna ! 🙂
Photos by Vanny Tang